Roman State Conflict With Christians and Jews

Lastly, the question of religious distinctiveness is fundamental to the conflict of the state and burgeoning religion. Many argue that one group was persecuted while the other was not and this is a considerable complexity in appreciating the conflict and persecution of the period.

Although most historians agree that the Roman Empire was generally tolerant towards new religions, it did come into conflict with different religious groups on occasion, such as the cult of Bacchus, which found it's Roman origins in 186BC (Livy 39.8-18). According to Livy, a Greek had brought Dionysiac rites to Etruria, which then spread to Rome. As a result, those who illustrated any involvement in the cult were punished and places of worship were destroyed to ensure the message was clear. Any person claiming an adherence to the religion was ordered to consult with the praetor urbanus and, according to Nock "and a decision given by him with the approval of a quorum of the Senate.aE Nock directly relates the Bacchus persecutions to those experienced by Christianity and says that the Christians were considered to be "almost a second peopleaE, evocative of the response of the St



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